During the year of 1994, Rwanda was a country torn by conflict between the Tutsis and Hutus. The violence affected many and sparked an eventual genocide of over 1 million people. This story focuses on one real-life individual doing his best to manage in the eye of an ever-closing storm: hotelier Paul Rusesabagina at Hôtel des Mille Collines. Straddling the thin wire between tribal politics and professionalism for his work, Paul makes good of a progressively hostile situation whilst providing a shelter for both Tutsi and Hutu refugees from the mounting conflict.
Without giving away any details that would spoil the film, I’d say that it was one of the most intense and engaging movies I’ve seen in a long time.
The tension is further escalated in several scenes where he, as both father and husband, is forced to make incredibly difficult decisions and anticipate scenarios only present during war. The film has a brilliant way of posturing questions to the audience as well as Paul himself. How far would you compromise your own morality to save those closest to you? Under circumstances of potential death to yourself and loved ones, how would you plan and face it? These are among the most sobering and humbling questions, and ones that Paul’s character answers in an inspiring way.
The acting is top notch, with all lead and supporting characters supplying ample amounts of believability, method, and honest emotion. You often forget that the movie is a movie, and become entrenched in the unfolding story wondering what the consequences will be for Paul, his family, and his extended family of refugees.
You can read an NPR article on the real-life Paul Rusesabagina here.
The movie website is here.